‘Timmy Failure’ Director and Cast on Adapting the Beloved Books for Disney+

     February 8, 2020

Now streaming on Disney+ is director Tom McCarthy’s fantastic family film, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. The film is an adaptation of Stephan Pastis’ children’s book series which were first published back in 2013. If you haven’t seen the trailer, Timmy Failure centers on the title character (Winslow Fegley), a one-kid and one imaginary 1,200 pound polar bear detective agency set in the very quirky and very fitting setting of Portland, Oregon. The film also stars Ophelia Lovibond, Kyle Bornheimer, Wallace Shawn and Craig Robinson. For more on the film, read Matt Goldberg’s review.


Image via Disney+

I’ve seen a lot of family films and this is one of those rare ones where the entire family will all find something to enjoy. But a word of warning: I think some kids are going to latch onto a number of Timmy’s catch phrases, so get ready to hear “mistakes were made” a lot over dinner.

Shortly after world premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Winslow Fegley, screenwriter Stephan Pastis, and director Tom McCarthy stopped by the Collider studio in Park City. During the wide-ranging and very fun conversation, they shared some fun stories about the making of the film, how the project ended up on Disney+, how they adapted the material, how they came up with the catch phrases, the great supporting cast, filming in Portland, and so much more.

kia-supper-suite-marbl-toronto-logo-sundance-2020Finally, I’d like to give special thanks to our Collider Studio Presenting Partner, the Kia Telluride SUV, the 2020 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. Additional thanks to support sponsors Glenfiddich Scotch, Peroni Beer, Marbl Toronto, mou footwear, ic! berlin sunglasses and clothing lines, Laundry by Sheli Segal and Orginal Penguin.

Check out what they had to say in the player above, and below is exactly what we talked about and the official synopsis.

Tom McCarthy, Winslow Fegley and Stephan Pastis:

  • What is the film about?
  • How did the project happen?
  • How did the script/story change along the way?
  • Why the book was tough to adapt.
  • Winslow Fegley talks about how he got the role.
  • How they filmed the bear.
  • How did the film end up on Disney+?
  • How this was the first Disney film to premiere at Sundance.
  • timmy-failure-posterWhere did the catch phrases come from?
  • What were they surprised by when they got into the editing room?
  • How the film deals with real-life issues.
  • Using Portland for Portland.
  • The great supporting cast.
  • Sequel talk.
  • What would sequel be about?
  • Memorable moments from filming.
  • McCarthy talks about his upcoming Matt Damon movie (Stillwater) arriving in theaters later this year.

Here’s the official synopsis for Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made:

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Tom McCarthy, Disney+’s “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made,” based on the best-selling book of the same name, follows the hilarious exploits of our quirky, deadpan hero, Timmy Failure, who, along with his 1,500-pound polar bear partner Total, operates Total Failure Inc., a Portland detective agency. An elementary school oddball, the clueless but confident Timmy (Winslow Fegley) must navigate the world of adults around him, including his overburdened mother (Ophelia Lovibond), her well-meaning boyfriend (Kyle Bornheimer), his teacher/nemesis (Wallace Shawn) and a school-mandated guidance counselor (Craig Robinson), all in his quest to become the best detective in the world.

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